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cocoons, chili, wine

Maybe it was a month or so ago that I woke up middle of the night and found that I had kicked off my blankets and I was only under a single sheet, nearly shivering. I retrieved the blankets and felt a sense of relief as they trapped my body heat, eventually giving me a nice cocoon of warmth that I, for a while, didn’t quite fall back asleep inside of, instead I sort of drifted along in a half-awake and self-hypnotized state. Staying warm like that has become a bit more imperative this year. For unknown causes, there’s been a shift in how I perceive temperatures this year. I noticed it beginning over the summer when I began finding it uncomfortable to sleep without a shirt and bare legs too — my legs and feet would get to feeling chilled.

This change also led me to buying an additional blanket for the bed at night. We’re getting some colder nights now and when I woke up during the night Saturday into Sunday, I found that the cocoon wasn’t quite enough, that sensation of my legs and feet being cold. So I bought a blanket yesterday and it made the difference last night.

Getting older.

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I tried a couple of wrinkles with the chili I made yesterday. In keeping with my recent experiments using wine as a recipe ingredient, I put in a cup of petite sirah wine to see if it would pair off with the flavor of the hamburger. Other ingredients included honey, peanut butter, dark chocolate, onions, celery, a green pepper, a cubanelle pepper and pinto beans along with spices, seasoning and tomato sauce. I put it enough spices to give it a bit of zing, but I was more interested in creating a sweet kind of chili. So there was a fair amount of honey added to it.

I think it was pretty successful and you can catch a hint of the red wine in the flavors. The little bit of zing from the spices go nicely with the sweetness from the honey, dark chocolate and petite sirah.

Later, I went googling to see if there were other people making sweet chilis. Most sweet chili results were about sauces from Thailand. There isn’t so much about sweet chilis which are soups or stews.

I suppose though if this experiment taught me one thing, it’s that raisins in a chili recipe might not be so crazy as I first thought when I heard of the idea. Raisins will carry much the same flavors that a red wine would, obviously. But I still couldn’t bring myself to use raisins in a chili I would make — I’ve never liked them much as kid because of their texture.

Besides, I can be all snobbish and talk about how I can create an amazing chili with wine. You just can’t be snobbish with raisins. They’re wrinkled food for kids. Wine is for the adult palate, and even someone as unrefined as me can appreciate their nuances sometimes.

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